Game Notes: Mavs at Hornets
Oh boy, Sean Marks!
by Toney Blare
– Walking from my office, I cross a parking lot littered with post cards. “Call Tony, ext. 105,” they read, an ad for a lawyer who apparently can get a stack of “Hurricane Money” for you. Call Tony!
– In the media dining room, I run into Dr. Michael White, a great clarinet player (and, dig it, a teaching PhD in Spanish) who lost his home and a priceless collection of jazz historical artifacts during Katrina, then lived in his car for awhile, rebounded, and just won a prestigious honor for the National Endowment for the Arts. We talk about a brass band oral history project I’m doing. He’s playing the anthem tonight.
– I start in on my chicken, greens, and mac n’ cheese when my man calls, the program director for my upcoming bachelor party. Oh, you didn’t hear? Yep, the number is about to be hung up. About 7 of us are marching in the St. Patrick’s Day parade, wearing tuxes, slinging beads, kissing the lasses down St. Charles Ave in 75 degree weather. That’s how I’m goin out.
– Cheryl Miller is ecstatic to see everyone.
– Skimming the Mavs media guide: my favorite thing in last week ‘s Dirk interview with German media was the idea that Shawn Bradley was a lazy bum who collected checks and didn’t work out in the offseason. Doesn’t fit Andrew Bogut’s profile, does he?
– Cubes in the building. Says he’s no longer considering buying our mutual hometown Pirates, doesn’t know what’ll happen with this stimulus package, and generally is focused on his Blackberry. Think of all the millions of dollars that have disappeared before his eyes on that little screen in the last year. I mean, even if dude was super (even illegally) smart, you have that much loot, you lost a boatload in this collapse.
– Speaking of, the Hornets recently reported they might not need to draw from the NBA’s loan pool. This runs counter to a lot of national media talk about them being one of the teams in trouble, supposedly illustrated by the failed Tyson giveaway. Thing is, their attendance is way up from last season and New Orleans is, as we like to say, in a kind of bubble. See, we’re the avant-garde of this meltdown. Housing crisis? Shit, we were out of credit already and the government bailouts never got through the wall of bureaucratic fumbling our city gov’t excels at. Nagin is a crazier Bush with no Cheney/Rumsfeld advers, using similarly bizarre tactics, still in office for another year, and intent on a scorched earth endgame that leaves as much racial division as possible. You think foreclosures are bad? We had it for real down here, but the construction business is still moving. My point is, the salary cap emergency move seemed weird to me, regardless of what some might assume.
– TNT in the building, and Marv and the Czar cross the court, hair models extraordinaire.
– Speaking of hair, Mel Ely shaved his off. Doesn’t really have the cultural resonance of the AI cut, does it?
– Julian Wright gets the start for the injured Peja, matches up early against Josh Howard, who a lot of us thought was the model for JuJu.
– Lil’ Wayne in the building! Young Money! About 10 feet from me, looking like if the Muppets had a thug character. He and his man are right next to three very Uptown looking ladies, and six seats away from Quint Davis, the founder and chief of JazzFest.
– TNT has a cable guy who’s a dead ringer for Jeff Reed, the fun loving kicker for the 6-time Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers, what!
– If there was an award for Comeback-to-Respectability Player of the Year, Rasual Butler would have it locked down.
– Hornets take control early, quarter ends 24-21. Apparently, David West was highly pissed by the attempted trade of TC, so much that he went ahead and won Player of the Week honors, and is abusing dudes tonight. I’m down on him sometimes, but there’s a kind of dangerousness to his game because he’s so crafty. He’s not going to back you down or jump over you, just sink jumpers and finesse the hell out of just about any non-All-Star. No face touching tonight, though.
– Example No. 23 of the evolving weirdness of 2009: watching multi-Grammy winner Lil’ Wayne watch a team of old ladies in gold Hornets jerseys thrust their pelvises to a Beyonce song.
– A wide-open Sean Marks dunk really gets on Dirk and Barea’s nerves.
– Josh Howard is definitely back. His jumper ties it at 28.
– Slamadamonth Candidate: Sean Marks’ put-back on Dirk’s head. He screams, “You’re like a brother to me!” in that Geico lizard accent of his.
– Byron is leaving Julian in to play real starters minutes in the second part of the quarter. Sometimes the giraffe calf looks great, sometimes he almost looks out of shape, and a few times he sags his shoulders when no one sees how open he is. I don’t know. Maybe it won’t ever happen. Maybe it was just a dream I had. Like that pre-marital United Nations intern-themed sixsome I always assumed would develop in due time. Oh well.
– If JKidd never made the NBA, he would’ve been an intense Little League dad. As it is, I have no idea if he makes Dirk even one bit better, but it sure is a shame that Diggler gets stuck on this squad, even if it is sort of an expression of him as a player.
– He hits a runner at the buzzer that’s reviewed and called off. Half ends 45-45.
– I check out the VIP Bacardi lounge and run into a girl I sort of know. “I think I saw you standing on a porch in Treme playing an electric guitar on Mardi Gras?” she asks. Could’ve been me, who knows?
– I end up walking back to my seat in front of the Weezy entourage, so that half the crowd is looking my way with their phones lifted for photos. And that is how it must be to be Birdman, Jr. My favorite part of his interview with Katie Couric was when he said, “Miss Katie, I’m a rapper. I’m a rapper.” I mean, if you like rap music, isn’t that better than “I’m a business, man?” No, really, isn’t it?
– Dirk hits two in a row. When a foul is called on Tyson and the ref holds up a one and a three, T.C. slaps him five. Never saw that before.
– Chris starts to take over. I’ve said this a milli times, but the anger he plays with is much clearer from the baseline seats. When he hits Wright on the fast break to make it 51-50 Dallas, he barks “Take that shit!” to no one in particular. Waiting for Dallas to come out of the TO, he stares at their bench like someone over there tried to steal his bike. After the timeout and a Dallas miss, he orchestrates the set into a mismatch with Dirk (he does this consistently the entire half), loses him, then hits Tyson for an oop, looks dead at Wayne and does not smile at all. The rapper and his mature lady crack up.
– Speaking of Mr. Carter, he, his man, and the Uptown ladies all returned with Bacardi cups and shit is getting so real in that row. The couple to his man’s right is a large bald white dude and his sexy girlfriend/wife, who has made it clear she wants to roll with the winners, is up during the break singing “It Takes Two,” and seems to ask her boyfriend to get her another damn drink. He texts anxiously. On the other side, one of the Uptown ladies, probably in her late 50s, puts her large sunglasses back on and is up in Weezy’s grill, throwing her head back and laughing. I need a Winn-Dixie grocery bag…
– Chris dribbles behind his back on the break, then hits Posey, who lays it in, 66-59 N.O. Cuban may need to scream on some dudes again tonight.
– Josh Howard is out with an ankle, I guess. Without him, this Dallas team is decidedly non-athletic.
– Kidd hits a 3, and then the Hornets blow the F up. It culminates when a Chris 3 makes it 91-76, timeout Dallas, the place explodes, and the founder of JazzFest gives Lil’ Wayne a half-hug, seems to say they need to get Wayne out there next year. And I am marrying a woman who is very proud to have seen Mystikal break the hip-hop barrier by performing on one of those stages a decade ago. So I’m…good?
– Chris nutmegs Jet. Rasual’s thunderous dunk makes all of us laugh, Hornets players included. Dallas couldn’t play with the Bees last May, and the gulf looks even wider now. While reading the Dallas media guide, I was thinking how funny it is—Sacramento, Phoenix, Dallas, all those teams that were so fun to watch at the beginning/middle of the decade, are on the way down with nothing to show for it. Who’s still standing? Popovich and Phil.
– Gerald Green checks in. Didn’t Lang used to compare him to Sikk the Shocker?
– With four minutes to go, up 16, Byron does the unthinkable: he sits Chris. I am still trying to wrap my head around this as I write this 2 hours later.
– And so we say farewell to the Chaplinesque Lil’ Wayne, who puts on his coat and hat, shakes hands with each of the Uptown ladies (one of whom kisses her fingers and presses them to his chest) and the Jazzfest founder and exits. The women behave like he and his man are going off to war. I’m telling you, this is a crazy city.
– Final Score: 104-88, Chris Paul and company.